Thursday, May 3, 2007

Trust the Numbers That Count

Joe Riggins, the coach of the Durham Bulls in Bull Durham simplified the game of baseball....

"This is a simple throw the ball, you catch the ball, you hit the ball."

My Dad may have been more wise than Riggins. During a game when I played for the T-Ball Blue Jays, my Dad had a simple message for me.

"Don't worry about strikeouts or walks or hits. They are just numbers. Just get on base. And when you get on base, score. If that means you get get hit."

Like I said, he is a wise man. Get on base and score.

That message is resonating with the Indians this year.

You'll hear about Cleveland's horrific average. Right now they are batting a lowly .255 (it's crept up 8 points over the past week), which is 17th in the league. You'll hear about a bunch of strikeouts, 209 to be exact, 4th most in the league.

Here's what you won't hear a lot about.

Cleveland is third in the league in total walks, and first in the league with nearly five walks a game. They get on base. Cleveland is leading the AL with an On Base Percentage of .355. Cleveland is tied for sixth in the majors in Runs Scored. They are second in the league with 5.6 runs per game. Cleveland is third in the league in getting hit by pitches, and is sixth in the league in On Base plus Slugging percentage.

What does all of this mean? Cleveland gets on base, and when they get on base, they score runs.

Oh, and they do it a lot.

Does it get any more basic than that?

Cleveland now has the best record in the bigs, at 17-8, are 9-1 over their last 10, and not playing their best baseball. They just won another series.

What will the future bring? Hopefully, and Indian Summer.

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